Author Archives: dawnlizjones

About dawnlizjones

Tends toward TMI, so here's the short list: guitar and banjo (both of which have been much neglected as of late), bicycling (ibid), dogs, very black tea, and contemplating and commenting on deep philosophical thoughts about which I have had no academic or professional training. Oh, also reading, writing, but I shy away from arithmetic.

Luke, I am your…um, sister.

My husband, Bob, is a (soon-to-be emeritus) biology professor at our small local college.  He has always been so good about his availability to his students, not only with posted office hours, but also by allowing students to call our home with questions prior to the next day’s test. 

His classes are difficult; it is, after all, college.  In the study of biology, there are things so tiny, one needs to learn to use a microscope effectively, as well as learn exactly what you’re looking for, distinguishing that from all the other crud swimming around on the glass slide.

At the same time, The Prof likes to have some fun in class, and his sense of humor can’t stay in the background for long.  One year on the day of the final exam, he dressed up like Darth Vadar and came strolling down the hallway to a group of students waiting outside the classroom door.

You couldn’t miss him if you tried…

Likewise, I’m impressed with the availability and exposure of wisdom expressed in this eighth chapter of Proverbs.  I really think it’s more than mere poetic personification. 

“Listen as Wisdom calls out!
    Hear as understanding raises her voice!”

It goes on to innumerate all the v-e-r-y public access points where wisdom seeks us out: on the hill, along the highway, at the crossroads, by the town’s entrance…

“I call to you, to all of you!
    I raise my voice to all people…

The operative word is “all”.  There is no discrimination here.  Which is really quite interesting, considering this was written by a man in an extremely male-dominated society, and a Jewish man where any non-Jew was considered less than necessary.

“I love all who love me.
    Those who search will surely find me…

The end of the chapter shows a different aspect, however.  Instead of wisdom searching for me, I’m the one who is waiting and watching for wisdom—

Joyful are those who listen to me,
    watching for me daily at my gates,
    waiting for me outside my home!

All of this brings to mind a cooperative effort between the teacher (Wisdom) and the student (me).  Wisdom makes herself available; sheesh, she even gives me her home phone number!  (Prayer.)  At the same time, I have some personal responsibility.  This is, after all, “college”, and a good student is expected to grow up.

I can be confident, however, that when I put my eye to microscope, (because, let’s face it, some things I need to see in life take more than a little magnification to figure out), Wisdom will be leaning over my shoulder for correct identification, bringing things into proper focus. 

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you.”

batman-1293525_1920Easy to see or situations more challenging, either way, Wisdom is available; it’s a promise from a good Teacher.  (With or without the cape.)

Proverbs 8:1,4,7,29,30;34; James 1:5 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Are you listening?

headphones-152341_1280I am at a venerable point in life when my adult children, (all in their 30’s at this writing), have been saying thing like,

“Mom, I heard you coming out of my mouth!”, or…

“Is that how Dad would treat Mom?”, or…

“I’m ‘channeling’ you, Mom”, and one of my personal favorites after the birth of a granddaughter,

“Mom, I’m sorry for all the #*@!! I put you through.”

It’s a time when you realize that something, by God’s grace, got through, is still getting through.  Sometimes it sure seems like our kids just aren’t paying attention.

But they are.  In more ways than one.

I love the New Living Translation header for Proverbs chapter 7:

“Another Warning about Immoral Women”

Emphasis on “another”.  Just in case you missed the first one or two. 

Can’t you just see the kid rolling his eyes?  That whole oh-mom-do-we-have-to-talk-about-this-again attitude. 

To which the obvious answer is emphatically affirmative.  Because it’s critically important that the child is told why.  Because they have friends who haven’t been told.  Because there’s a society drooling in anticipation to ensnare him in something dangerous and deadly.

Like chapter five, this chapter isn’t just for the guys, either.  And actually, taken as a whole, it can be seen as something more than sexual promiscuity, something far deeper and far more insidious—

Seduction.

How interesting that Babylon is personified in Revelation as a prostitute.  Babylon, the representation of all that is anti-Christ, all that would seduce me away from Christ and set up her own kingdom within my heart.  If I read Proverbs chapter seven and insert the word “Babylon” in place of “woman”, it brings out a whole new context.  It forces me to look at myself, my decisions, my desires in an uncomfortable light. 

Seduction.  Undoubtedly, sex is one of the vehicles that the enemy perverts for this purpose.  It’s definitely a strong one, but it’s only one.  He has many options when it comes to seduction.

  • People’s applause and affirmation, (including family, loved ones, people whose opinions “count”),
  • Financial security, (an oxymoron, BTW),
  • Emotional comfort zone

You know, like sex, all these can be good things!  We need affirmation, I appreciate my husband’s detail to retirement preparation, and emotional security is important to every other kind of health, so that’s not the point.  Instead, when these things (and there are many others) draw us away from God’s intended purpose—intimacy with Himself—then Seduction is at work…overtime!

I appreciate the in-your-face strategies that given in this same chapter, including 1st-person observation revealing the woman’s tricks, calling attention to the son’s heart (something sorely neglected in our day), the use of flattery, the lie of anonymity, and the advice to not even start down that path.  It reminds me that I need some strategies as well…

“…so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.”

The words of the Parent ring just as true today, in all areas of life.  I aspire to be an attentive child.

 


2 Corinthians 2:11 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

2 Corinthians 2:11 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Just Like You Said

girl-563719_1280Children have an innate ability to (at least believe they) remember something you SAID. 

Y’know, like, six months ago. 

“But YOU PRO-O-O-M-I-S-E-D!!”

Busted!

Personally, I think it’s pretty humorous.  Kids will keep you, if not broke, then at least honest, when the money goes for braces instead of a new(er) car, or into the college fund rather than a retirement fund.  Disney over Cancun, that sort of thing.

Best not to tell a kid something unless you mean it.  To them, our words are powerful, like a contract signed in blood, and once they know you’re sincere, they’ll be back for more.  More encouragement, more love…more money.  (Always more money.)

Interestingly, it can be similar to the spiritual realm—Heaven is listening to what we say.  Unfortunately, Hell is also tuned in.  Now, I have heard my husband say that the Holy Spirit is a gentleman; He doesn’t force Himself on anyone.  He is forgiving and patient.  Consider the Prodigal Son who walked away and then said, “oops!” 

 Satan,…not so much.  

 “…if you have trapped yourself by your agreement
    and are caught by what you said—”

I realize the context of this passage from Proverbs is concerned with signing off on someone else’s debt, but perhaps the principle has further applications.  Author and counselor John Eldredge posits that we make spiritual agreements ALL THE TIME, sometimes in ways we don’t even realize:

 “How can I be so stupid?!”

 “I’ll never change.”

 “I’m nothing but a mess.”

 And with whom are we agreeing when we say these things?  Certainly not God!  His words over me are more along the lines of:

 “I am a new creation”.

 “I am loved.”

 “I have authority and purpose.”

The challenge comes when I realize that I have a choice: just who will I believe? (Jesus paid dearly so that I could have that choice, BTW.)  When I verbalize choices contrary to what God Himself says about me, I’m inviting spiritual influences in keeping with those decisions.  Because that’s what my words are—decisions.  Decisions to trust what I feel (or what the enemy is saying to me through a feeling) rather than the truth of God.

I can get trapped by that agreement. 

cross-3080144_1920The Good News, however, sets me free, since that’s what the Truth does.  Always.  Sure, I’m responsible for that freedom, but it’s paid for.  Like a good Father, He promised. 

And then signed it in blood.

Proverbs 6:2 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


In Defense of Chapter Five

rose-2539951_1920When I was asked to be a part of Proverbial Thought, I felt honored not only because some level of esteem was ascribed to my writing, but also from a gender perspective—they wanted a “woman’s point of view” (whatever that is in the 21st century…)

Which means I’m having a hey-day with this week’s chapter of Proverbs, challenging my beloved brethren to not mince any words.  (Giggle.)  Just let it rip, guys.  I’m not touchin’ it.

On the other hand, there is another point worth mentioning (from a woman’s point of view, mind you.)  For reference, the whole of chapter five is emphatic with warnings to men against prostitution and other illicit sexual encounters and, by implication, pornography.  (The medical evidence alone concerning the personal and societal effects of porn is enough to convict said “freedoms of speech”, but another post perhaps.)

But the chapter here implies, for the attentive reader, that there also exist the same emphatic warnings for women.  No, a woman’s typical physical and emotional wiring doesn’t tend to offer much temptation in the area of seeking out pornography or prostitution.  Fairly safe to say that, for most women, sex is more about relationship, acceptance, and security, at least in some context, rather than mere physical pleasure.  (Which is also not a bad thing, just sayin…)

So, just how does Proverbs chapter five relate to women? 

Just ask companies like Harlequin Romance that proliferate on new and used bookstore shelves.  Even the Christian genre has jumped on the wagon!  Then there are the “soap operas” that came out not long after TV made its own nefarious debut, and women began to refer to their faves as “my stories”. 

Ever wonder why these are so popular? Hollywood isn’t stupid; they know how to make money, and they know sex sells for men, and relationship sells for women.

The reality of it is this: both of these were created by God, and He calls everything He made “good”.  The issue is that, as John Eldredge puts it, we tanked the whole project by the third chapter of Genesis. 

And it’s been a struggle for clarity and satisfaction ever since.

It’s about intimacy, and how we (both men and women) tend to look for it in all the wrong places; how the broken places of our hearts no longer care and maybe have stopped even caring to try to care.  Even the “immoral woman” spoken of in this chapter still had a soul, albeit a wounded one—there was some reason that she went in that direction.  Even in that culture, if given a choice, I doubt prostitution would have been her first one.

Jesus knew that.  Our sexuality doesn’t intimidate Him, even our fragmented sexuality.  That’s only a sign of our broken intimacy, just another thing He is able to mend.

I’ll let the guys talk about the finer points of Proverbs chapter five.  Here’s my verse:

The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
    that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
     and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”
He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”

That goes for men and women alike!

Luke 4:17-21 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Sweet Ride

ford-290615_1920Do you remember when you turned 16 and your parents bought you your first new car?

Yeah, me neither.

That’s okay though, because growing up sharing the family auto(s) was actually a good thing.  And anyway, just because I got my driver’s license didn’t mean I automatically deserved a car, not by a long shot.  Having a license isn’t a “right”, or something I earn.  Sure, I did a little study and answered a few questions, but in reality, a license is something bestowed—a trust. Continue reading